How’s your test “swag”? Confidence can mean the difference between a ‘B’ and an ‘A’ on the test or passing and failing. Those who have swag tend to do much better than their counterparts. And those that don’t, tend to label themselves as “bad test-takers.” However, most of these “bad test-takers” are just bad test anxiety managers. Here are some ways to manage your test-anxiety.
The best thing you can do to feel ready, is to be ready. Don’t procrastinate. Procrastination and anxiety are best friends. Days before the test, anxiety can decrease your motivation to study and lead to procrastination. And on test day, procrastination will leave you feeling unprepared leading to test anxiety. It’s an unforgiving cycle. To break the cycle, set goals, make a study plan to meet them, and continuously visualize the rewards that come with meeting those goals. Use some of our tips to help you study smarter
2) Trust in your preparation.
You’ve done all the work to get to where you are now. You’ve spent countless hours memorizing, making outlines, drawing diagrams, and group-studying. And you’ve probably done hundreds of practice questions. Trust your hard work. Pat yourself on the back because you’ve put yourself in the best position to succeed.
3) On the day before the test, do something fun to distract yourself; do little, if any preparation.
If you’ve been adequately studying, trust your preparation and take a break. A runner doesn’t run 26 miles the day before a marathon. Neither should you study for hours the day before the test. Practice some self-care. Hang out with family or friends. Go watch a movie. Go on a quick light jog. Do something fun and your brain will thank you later.
4) Write down your thoughts.
If test anticipation is keeping you up at night, grab a pen and paper and write down your thoughts. Many times our brains replay information over and over to us because we are consciously or subconsciously afraid that we’ll forget something. Writing down your thoughts is like making a grocery list of to-do’s, to-remember’s, and to-worry-about’s. It organizes them on paper and none of that information is going anywhere until you’re done. That page becomes a USB drive of your mental thoughts. So write your thoughts down, and you can go from counting worries to counting sheep.
If you feel anxious before the test, write down those worries. During the test, write down the items you are afraid of forgetting. You’ll spend less energy worrying and have more energy focusing on the rest of the test.
5) Talk positively to yourself.
Of course not out loud. Much of stress originates from how you talk to yourself. Test taking is difficult when Negative Nancy is whispering in your ear:
- I don’t feel ready.
- What if the test has something I did not study?
- What if I fail?
- This test is long.
- This test is going to make or break my grade.
These are all unnecessary distractors from the test. But if you only invite Positive Polly, you’ll hear:
- You got this.
- You’re going to kick butt.
- This is just like practice.
Polly’s usually right. And if you’re not used to such positivity, fake it until you make it. You’ll love yourself for it.
6) Avoid talking about the test with anyone on test-day.
Resist the urge to talk about the test with others. When stressed students talk about the test, what do they usually talk about? Many times it isn’t about something good. And even if they say something positive, you might start comparing your test experience to theirs. So save yourself the trouble and leave the test conversation for the end.
7) Stay Hydrated.
As mentioned in our previous post “5 Tips to Study Smarter
,” water helps to reduce stress and increases short-term and long-term memory retention. So drink up.
If you feel tense and your heart rate is through the roof, take yoga breaths—slow, controlled, deep breaths in and out through your nose. Doing it before and during the test will bring your stress level down and increase the amount of oxygen in your brain.
9) Have fun with it.
Why so serious? It’s just another test. You have probably taken hundreds of quizzes and tests by now. And you’ll probably take another test after this one. Decide that you are going to have fun with this challenge regardless of the outcome. It’s like anything else, the more fun you have, the better you’ll perform.
10) Assert yourself.
In the past you might have convinced yourself that you struggle on tests. Therefore, you can convince yourself that you can succeed on tests. Your past experiences are simply that, just past experiences. You can learn from them, but they don’t dictate your future; YOU DO. Your reaction and mindset are a decision. You decide whether to feel anxious or confident. You decide whether to feel intimidated or undaunted. You decide whether to be negative or positive. So decide.